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NATO Secretary General Rasmussen: Gap widening between US, allies. President Basescu: Romania never asked or received missile defense guarantees

de V.O.
Luni, 10 octombrie 2011, 14:38 English | Regional Europe

Libya, Afghanistan and the missile defense shield were the key issues covered in top NATO and Romanian officials at the Alliance's Parliamentary Assembly on Monday. While Europe had strong military forces, the gap between the US and its allies has widened for the past years and in Libya, European allies and Canada had most troops contributions but based their activities on US command capacities and essential units, said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. On the missile defense, Romanian President Traian Basescu said for his part that his country has never asked for or received anti-missile guarantees from anybody and had an obligation to obtain them by themselves through partnerships with allies.

NATO Parliamentary Assembly head Karl Lamers noted Romania's strong support for the missile shield project and welcomed the country's decision to host elements of the shield.

Key statements by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen:
  • On Libya: NATO ran a successful operation in Libya despite the financial crisis. While Europe has strong military forces, the gap between the US and its allies has grown for the past several years. In Libya, European allies and Canada had the most troops contributions, but based their operations on US command capacities and essential units.
  • It is the responsibility of the national transitional council to deal with the weapons issue in Libya
  • On smart defense: the issue for NATO is not increasing defense spending but prioritizing spending - that is, Smart Defense.  Ten allies including Romania have bought 3 C-17 transport aircraft - none of the countries could have bought such aircraft by itself. This is an example of Smart Defense.
  • On relations with Russia: The Alliance has to promote an important relation with Russia and the two parties already discuss on Afghanistan, fighting terror and piracy. We hope to discuss the missile defense shield with Russia more deeply at the 2012 Chicago summit. We have to send a strong signal that NATO continues to have a major interest in the stability of the Mediterranean and the Middle East
  • On Afghanistan: The mission in Afghanistan is not impossible. Afghan Security forces become more and more capable quantitatively and qualitatively. Transition should start this year and conclude in 2014. Afghan President to announce next transition phase over the next month.
  • On missile shield: I expect other countries to announce hosting elements of the missile shield beside Turkey, Poland, Romania, Spain, and Netherlands. Over 30 countries worldwide have or buy missile and necessary technology so the threat is real and we need a real defense. From a European perspective, it is a good investment.

The Russian diplomacy has asked legal guarantees from the US that the missile shield is not directed against the offensive capabilities of the Russian Federation. On Monday, Romanian President Traian Basescu said Romania has never asked for or received missile defense guarantees from anybody and the country had to cover these guarantees by itself through partnerships with the allies.

Basescu also spoke on the NATO-Russia cooperation, saying Romania supported an open dialogue between the two parties on the missile defense, while separate territorial responsibilities were at stake.

On Libya, he said an extension of the NATO operation as proper in order to send a clear signal to the international community that NATO would accomplish its objectives and promises.

And Romania Senate speaker Mircea Geoana said the Senate would ratify the deal with the US on deploying elements of the missile shield in Romania.

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